When Are Criminal Records in NY Sealed?
In New York State, criminal records are sealed in a variety of scenarios. The below list is detailed in CPL 160.50.
- Acquittal after trial
- Dismissal, including
- Dismissal by Grand Jury, No True Bill
- Dismissal in Interests of Justice, Clayton Motion
- Dismissal of Information
- Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (“ACD”)
- Decline to Prosecute (“DP’d or Nolle Prosequi – this is when a Assistant District Attorney from the Early Case Assessment Bureau declines to prosecute)
- Decline to File Accusatory Instrument ( This is when NYPD declines to file criminal charges)
- Order Setting Aside the Verdict
- Order Vacating a Judgement
- Habeas Appeal
If your criminal case was ended by above of the above then the New York State Department of Criminal Justice System, the NYPD or other Police agency, the District Attorneys Office and the Court records are sealed.
Can Felony Convictions Be Sealed in NY?
Can Misdemeanor Convictions Be Sealed in NY?
What Does the Sealing of NY Criminal Records Mean?
The sealing of criminal records means that the actual court file remains, however it is sealed from the public view.
What Does Expungement of NY Criminal Records Mean?
The expungement of criminal records is the physical removal of criminal records. This occurs in various jurisdictions, however it is not available under NY law.
The Sealing of Criminal Records Process
- The clerk of the court must send notification to the New York State Department of Criminal Justice System and to the relevant police agency
- Every photograph of the defendant, fingerprint of the defendant, or palm print of the defendant must be returned to the person who received the favorable disposition of destroyed. Any police departments and law enforcement agencies who have photographs of the defendant, fingerprints or palm prints and have shared them with other agencies or jurisdictions must track them down have them destroyed. However, digital copies of fingerprints may be retained on file, if the individual already has a fingerprint on file and it has not been sealed already.
- All of the official records and papers, including but not limited to copies of published opinions by the Judge shall be sealed and not made available to any person, public or private agency.
When Can There Be an Unsealing of the Criminal Records?
There are certain statutorily defined circumstances in which sealed records can be released by court order. See CPL 160.50(e)
- The client requests it
- The client applies for a gun permit or license
- The client applies for a job as a law enforcement or peace officer
- The client is arrested while on parole or probation
- If a prosecutor or law enforcement official establish that “justice requires”
What is the Difference Between the Sealing of NY Criminal Records under CPL 160.50 vs. CPL 160.55?
The sealing of NY criminal records under CPL 160.50 occurs when the criminal charges are dismissed completely, whereas the sealing of NY criminal records under CPL 160.55 occurs when the criminal charges are reduced from a felony or misdemeanor to a violation. Under CPL 160.50 all records are destroyed. Under CPL 160.55 the court records are still available.
Todd A. Spodek is a NY criminal lawyer with Spodek Law Group P.C.